Doing the daily school run either in the morning or afternoon (or both) is a regular part of many dog owner’s routines, and whether you view it as an unavoidable inconvenience or a chance to meet and chat to your own friends and those of your children, it is something most parents are very familiar with.
Whether your school run involves a walk or a drive and if you like to come and go as quickly as possible or hang around to wave your child off and chat, most
parents clock up hundreds or perhaps thousands of hours doing the school run over the course of their children’s educations.
If you have a dog too, you might take them with you on the school run, either because it gives your dog a chance to get out and do something with you, or perhaps because it provides them with an extra walk, or a chance to stretch their legs afterwards.
But is it actually a good idea to take your dog with you on the school run, and how can you decide? This article will help you to understand the factors to consider. Read on to learn more.
One of the first things to think about it how your school run works. If you drive and don’t get out, assuming your dog is good in the car then there’s no reason not to take them, and your dog will probably enjoy the trip albeit it won’t be an overly interesting outing.
If you drive and get out at the school itself, will your dog get out too? Will this be safe? You should never leave a dog unsupervised in a car, particularly in warmer weather, so discount taking them along if this would be unavoidable.
If you walk the school run, is the walk itself one you’d be happy to take your dog on at other times of the day? What about at school run times when the road and pavement will be busy?
Think about the potential advantages and hazards involved in the trip, specifically at the times of day the school run takes place, which often cause the roads and streets to be noisy and crowded with children. If your dog is likely to get anxious or can be unpredictable, this might be best avoided.
The next thing to look at is what’s in the school run for your dog. Most dogs welcome any opportunity to get out and see new things, even if the trip is short and not objectively that interesting, and this is often enough.
But if you need to balance this against the potential challenges of handling your dog in a crowd, or planning to substitute a walk with the school run, think about how valuable this will be for the dog.
Parents and children cluster round the gates at pick up and drop off times, and many dogs will really enjoy this as an opportunity to get some extra attention! Others might find this hugely daunting, however, so consider how your dog will react, how far you would be able to keep them from the main hustle and bustle, and if the environment is appropriate for your dog in the first place.
If your dog is in any way wary, speculative, anxious or unpredictable around children of any age and level of excitement, discount the idea of taking them on the school run immediately. It is your responsibility as a dog owner to ensure that the presence of your dog does not pose a threat to other people, and to keep your dog calm and under control without needlessly exposing them to stress.
If you’re thinking of taking your dog on the school run, so will other parents – so factor in how well your dog gets on with others, and if they will be happy and relaxed in the company of other dogs. For many dogs, this will give them a great chance to socialise, but for a dog that is still getting to grips with dealing with others or that can be a bit funny with other dogs, the school run is best avoided.
Your dog must be generally well behaved and responsive to commands in order for you to be able to consider taking them on the school run, because an out of control dog can soon cause plenty of problems for both you and other people.
If your dog can’t keep their head when a lot if going on around them or they get overexcited or too wound up, leave them at home.
Finally, check before you take your dog on the school run that the school doesn’t have any rules forbidding this themselves. Some schools will naturally have a no dogs policy on the grounds, but this may extend to outside of the gates too.
Additionally, remember that not everyone wants to be in close quarters to dogs, even if your dog is lovely, so respect this and ensure that their simple presence doesn’t pose a nuisance or scare another parent or worse, a child.